Clarifying: BioLogos, Michael Ruse, and the Resurrection

**My original post on this subject was not as clear as I would have liked. I have expanded my post to reflect the topic more fully.**

As I have discussed before, BioLogos is dogmatic about evolution, but flexible about everything else. My point is that while BioLogos states that they believe there can be harmony between evolutionary science and Christianity, they believe that the evolutionary science is settled, and therefore the Scriptures must give way. Karl Giberson, formerly Vice President of BioLogos, wrote in an essay for BioLogos:

I am happy to concede that science does indeed trump religious truth about the natural world.

The problem with allowing “science to trump religious truth” is that eventually all of the central claims of Christianity are subject to being overridden by naturalism. For example, according to naturalism, dead men do not rise from the grave. The most central tenet of Christianity is the death and resurrection of Christ. According to “science,” Christ could not have risen from the dead.

Now, BioLogos believes in the “historical death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.” However, they appear to be more concerned with supporting their claim that evolutionary science and Christianity are compatible than with addressing how various scholars make them compatible.

For example, Michael Ruse has written a series of posts for BioLogos called “Accommodationist and Proud of it.” In the intro for the essay, BioLogos states:

Michael Ruse is an author and philosopher of biology well known for his works on the creationism and evolution debate. Though not a believer in God, he takes the position that Christianity and evolution are not incompatible.

So, even though Ruse is an atheist, what matters here is that he believes that evolution and Christianity are “not incompatible.” What is interesting is how Ruse believes evolution and Christianity are compatible. In his essay for BioLogos, Ruse says:

My first work in this area was Can a Darwinian be a Christian?: The Relationship between Science and Religion, in which I lay out in a fairly standard way what it is to be a Darwinian and then I go through the main claims of Christianity as they might be impacted by the science.

His book, Can a Darwinian be a Christian?, used to be listed as a recommended resource by BioLogos, although the link appears dead now. As he says, he addresses various claims of Christianity in his book. What does he say about the Resurrection?

[T]he supreme miracle of the resurrection is no law-breaking return from the dead. One can think Jesus in a trance, or more likely that he really was physically dead but that on and from the third day, a group of people, hitherto downcast, were filled with great joy and hope (96).

He goes on to say in his BioLogos essay:

What the Christian cannot do is encroach on the domain of science. That is why I offer no hope to the Creationist, because that position does clash with science. (Expectedly, I don’t have any time for those who would alter science to fit with Creationism.)

And then he concludes with:

Am I an Accommodationist? It all depends.

If it means thinking that the Christian religion is true, then I am not. If it means thinking that religion, and Christianity in particular, is a valid way of knowing, and that as such I should not criticize it, then I am not. I think religion is a delusion and that faith is chimerical.

I really do.

However, my form of Accommodationism says that science can only go so far and that after this if religion wants to take over, science as science cannot stop it. You can use other arguments, theological and philosophical, and this I myself would do. But these are not scientific arguments. Note the caveat that my Accommodationism allows only those aspects of religion that do not encroach illicitly on science. So Creationism is ruled out. (emphasis added)

So, BioLogos believes in the Resurrection. Michael Ruse does not. In his essay, Michael Ruse writes in support of BioLogos’ chief purpose which is:

exploring and celebrating the compatibility of evolutionary creation and biblical faith.

But this compatibility comes at what cost?

2 thoughts on “Clarifying: BioLogos, Michael Ruse, and the Resurrection

  1. Eileen says:

    Thanks, Rachel, for another insightful post.

    “…a group of people, hitherto downcast, were filled with great joy and hope [after watching their friend be crucified by the Romans and then burying him].”

    So, I wonder what Dr. Ruse’s explanation is for that transformation in the mood and outlook of the disciples if it was not the presence of their friend in His resurrected body? Holy Land Prozac perhaps? New wine? Mass head trauma?

    Biologos mission: “…exploring [with naturalistic assumptions] and celebrating [along with our own superior intellect and understanding] the compatibility of evolutionary [random and non-designed] creation [which uses a mechanism requiring destruction] and biblical [as long as that means not literal, of course] faith [in any of the various Biologos narratives].”

    Biologos tagline: Evolutionary creation: Really Smart scientists and biblical scholars helping God out because He has trouble communicating clearly and making stuff.

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